The Cultural Politics of Jazz Collectives: This Is Our Music documents the emergence of collective movements in jazz and improvised music. Jazz history is most often portrayed as a site for individual expression and revolves around the celebration of iconic figures, while the networks and collaborations that enable the music to maintain and sustain its cultural status are surprisingly under-investigated. This collection explores the history of musician-led collectives and the ways in which they offer a powerful counter-model for rethinking jazz practices in the post-war period. It includes studies of groups including the New York Musicians Organization, Sweden’s Ett minne för livet, Wonderbrass from South Wales, the contemporary Dutch jazz-hip hop scene, and Austria‘s JazzWerkstatt. With an international list of contributors and examples from Europe and the United States, these twelve essays and case studies examine issues of shared aesthetic vision, socioeconomic and political factors, local education, and cultural values among improvising musicians.
1. Introduction: Jazz as a Collective Problem Nicholas Gebhardt 2. Complaining Time is Over:" Network and Collective Strategies of The New York Musicians Organization Michael C. Heller 3. Playing politics: Dutch improvising musicians facing the authorities Loes Rusch 4. Sound Visions and Free Initiatives: The Cultural Politics of Creative Improvised Music Collectives A. Scott Currie 5. Musical Hybridity in the New European City: The Jazz Hip Hop Collectives of C-Mon & Kypski and Kytopia Kristin McGee 6. Collective Cultures and Live Jazz in Birmingham Tim Wall and Simon Barber 7. San Francisco State University’s Music Federation: The Political Machine behind a Jazz Cooperative for Teachers Meredith Eliassen 8. MINNET: Transcending Genre Boundaries, Organizing Diversity Alf Arvidsson and Jörgen Adolfsson 9. 'Wonderbrass' as a South Wales Community Jazz Collective Rob Smith 10. Jazz networks in Austria – the young initiative JazzWerkstatt Christa Bruckner-Haring and Michael Kahr 11. Improvisational conduct and case studies from the margins - an insider’s view on negotiating the collective Petter Frost Fadnes 12. Collective practice and digital mediation Andrew Dubber 13. Conclusion: Towards a Collective Jazz Studies Tony Whyton
The field of New Jazz Studies has emerged out of traditional modes of musicological inquiry, with an increasing number of scholars examining jazz as a discursive cultural practice. Drawing on a range of disciplinary perspectives, New Jazz Studies has begun to promote a multiplicity of canons, exploring the overlapping and exchanges between different countries and cultural groups and challenging existing modes of understanding. Transnational Studies in Jazz presents cross-disciplinary and international perspectives on the relationship between jazz and its social, political, and cultural contexts.
While supporting ongoing research on American themes, artists and scenes, Transnational Studies in Jazz also seeks to develop understandings of jazz in different contexts, approaching the American influence - as well as the rejection of America - through analysis of international discourses and local scenes. Through US, UK and international contributors, jazz would be understood not only as a sonic form or subject of artistic expression and analysis but also as a key social and political agent in the development and exchange of culture.